North American Robotics Shipments Grow in 2013 While New Orders Contract

While robot shipments set record highs in 2013, new orders fell.

Ann Arbor, Michigan - February 4, 2014 - Following a strong year in 2012, the North American robotics market recorded its best year ever in 2013 in terms of robot shipments, according to new statistics from Robotic Industries Association (RIA), the industry's trade group.


A total of 22,591 robots valued at $1.39 billion were shipped to companies in North America in 2013, beating the previous record of 20,328 robots valued at $1.29 billion shipped in 2012. These new records for robotic shipments represent growth of 11% in units and seven percent in dollars. When sales by North American robot suppliers to companies outside North America are included, the totals are 25,772 robots valued at $1.57 billion.

While robot shipments set record highs in 2013, new orders fell. A total of 21,562 robots valued at $1.34 billion were ordered from North American companies in 2013, representing a decrease of five percent in units and ten percent in dollars from 2012. While the 2013 totals for robot orders represent a contraction from 2012, they remain the second highest annual figures ever recorded for North America.

"We are pleased to see another strong year for the robotics market in North America," said Jeff Burnstein, President of RIA. "It's exciting to see companies of all sizes continue to find value in automating with robotics."

The top industries in terms of units ordered in 2013 were life sciences (+73%) and food and consumer goods (+67%). "While the highly cyclical purchases by automotive companies contracted in 2013 for robotics, we saw strong growth in non-automotive industries," said Alex Shikany, Director of Market Analysis for RIA. "The total number of robots ordered for use in non-automotive industries grew 22% over 2012," he added.

In terms of applications for robot orders, increases were seen in assembly (+61%), material handling (+13%), and coating & dispensing (+5%).

The robotics market in North America ended 2013 on a strong note. New robot orders in the fourth quarter of 2013 totaled 5,831, the third highest quarterly total ever recorded (RIA began recording data in 1984).

RIA estimates that some 228,000 robots are now at use in United States factories, placing the US second only to Japan in robot use. "Many observers believe that only about 10% of the US companies that could benefit from robots have installed any so far," Burnstein said, "A very large segment of small and medium sized companies who may have the most to gain are just now beginning to seriously investigate robotics."

About Robotic Industries Association (RIA)
Founded in 1974, RIA now represents 325 robot manufacturers, system integrators, component suppliers, end users, consulting firms, research groups, and educational institutions. RIA is best known for its biennial Automate Show & Conference (next event slated for March 23-26, 2015 in Chicago); the ANSI/RIA National Robot Safety Standard and annual National Robot Safety Conference, and the annual Robotics Industry Forum (January 21-23, 2015, Orlando). The association also provides quarterly robotics statistics and has a content-rich Robotics Online website attracting hundreds of thousands of visits a year from throughout the world. For more details on RIA, visit Robotics Online or call 734/994-6088.

About Association for Advancing Automation (A3)
The Association for Advancing Automation is the global advocate for the benefits of automating. A3 promotes automation technologies and ideas that transform the way business is done. A3 is the umbrella group for Robotic Industries Association (RIA), AIA - Advancing Vision + Imaging, and Motion Control Association (MCA). RIA, AIA, and MCA combined represent 750 automation manufacturers, component suppliers, system integrators, end users, research groups and consulting firms from throughout the world that drive automation forward.

For more information, please visit our websites: A3; RIA; AIA; MCA.

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